C么te de Gargantua Nature Reserve
Moulded into a curious shape by the glaciers, a habitat wrapped by sunshine
The Reserve , situated to the South-West of Aosta, on the right mountain slope of the Dora Baltea, has the appearance of moraine hill, extending from South to North-East, with a very sharp peak and steep slopes. This particular morphology has always spurred popular curiosity, generating the legend to which the name of the protected area owes its name: indeed, the C么te is said to be the little finger of Rabelais' giant, Gargantua, buried under a blanket of waste. The particular conditions of sun exposure and aridity allow the development of xerothermophile vegetation, rich in
steppic or Mediterranean species. The spontaneous shrubs typical of arid environments you may recognise here include: common juniper, bearberry and the rare and venomous Alpine Daphne. The herbaceous flora includes very fine species, such as the Valley Artemisia (Artemisia vallesiaca), the goldilocks Aster (Aster linosyris) and the perennial Telephium (Telephium imperati), as well as plants introduced by man, such as the poppy (Papaver rhoeas), the hyssup (Hyssopus officinalis) and the cornflower (Centaurea cyanus). The protected area is visited by small rodents, birds
birds of prey, songbirds and, most of all, reptiles and invertebrates. Among these,: the wall lizard, the green lizard, the sand lizard, in addition to many species of Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The nature reserve (municipality of Gressan), set up in 1993 and run by the Protected areas service of the Agriculture and natural resources Councillorship, can be reached by following the road to Pila (Villages of Clapey and Piscine).